Aggressive Mercy
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St. John's University Press / 2014 / Paperback

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Aggressive Mercy

St. John's University Press / 2014 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW407558

Product Description

The Bible contains vast and varied portraits of God's multifaceted mercy. In his typical style Kilian McDonnell's latest collection of poems reveals a lifetime of contemplating biblical characters and their experience of the tenacious mercy of the Sovereign God. What might the Prodigal Son have been rehearsing on his way back home to his father? Did the disciples think Jesus was "teasing" them when he asked them to feed the five thousand? Imagine Mary trying to explain her "bulging belly" to her mother. How are we to understand God's mercy in the turmoil brought about by the birth order of Esau and Jacob? Where was mercy for Jesus on the cross? "Dark Night of the Heart" explores the question of the apparent absence of God's mercy. Enter the drama and amazement of the first miracle at Cana andJesus' pursuit of wild, ornery fishermen after a long day at sea.

Aggressive Mercy demonstrates the mystery of an extravagantly merciful God. "Who would believe that God / gives away gold buillion / with professional absurdity?" Most poems are accompanied by a Scripture passage and offer readers a starting point to plumb the depths of this coveted characteristic of God and to wonder, struggle, and be awed by the unfathomable mercy of God.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: St. John's University Press
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 0988407558
ISBN-13: 9780988407558

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Author Bio

Kilian McDonnell, OSB, is a monk/theologian of Saint Johns Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota. He is the author of three other books of poetry: Swift, Lord, You Are Not, Yahwehs Other Shoe, and God Drops and Loses Things (Saint Johns University Press).

Editorial Reviews

"Kilian McDonnell retells the old stories from Genesis to Acts in clear, colloquial language that gives back to his characters from Adam to Mary and the Apostles a credible humanity and along the way offers the reader autobiographical vignettes from his own life. These are poems of faith that belong in the library of the heart."
Nick Hayes
Professor of History and University Chair in Critical Thinking
St. John’s University
Collegeville, Minnesota

"Father Kilian McDonnell's new book of collected poems has the right title—Aggressive Mercy. The seventy-three poems give consistent evidence of the poet's focus and conviction of the realities of an unnamable, incomprehensible Mercy, a ’given’ that is ’extravagant beyond beyondness,’ that one questions but relies on, and that permeates the biblical phrases through which he speaks. . . . There is no room for a doubt in these poems that we humans are inclined to ’minor treacheries’ and ’small mess[es].’ We make ’unbalanced vows’ which mysteriously bind the Lord ’while we are free / to plunge a dagger / into the heart of Love.’ . . . Throughout these searching poems, Father Kilian wonders about ’the difference / between living / in God's glory / and walking / in God’s shadow.’"  
Kathryn Hohlwein
President and Founder of The Readers of Homer

"Aggressive Mercy is an unapologetic inquisition of Scripture, God, and humanity. Kilian McDonnell pits his unparalleled knowledge of our biblical heritage against the tough questions and painful truths necessary for a life of faith. God is not perfect, but is humanized and fallible. Even Jesus holds God accountable, teaching us that we, too, might question our creator: ’You called me, / walked away / ignored my pleas / and left me alone / nails in my hands. / You left me alone.’ McDonnell teaches us that questions and doubts are, in fact, the birthplace of faith: ’But you know our hearts from afar, you know we stutter and we stumble.’ Beautifully lyric, unwaveringly honest, and immeasurably brave, this collection gives us the gift of a new way to read our history and ourselves."
Sivan Butler-Rotholz
Editor, As It Ought to Be; Founder, Reviving Herstory

"In his inimitable style, Kilian brings biblical characters and his fellow monks to life in poetic vignettes without airbrushing their flawed humanity. In this, he has no peer. Not even God always escapes the candor Kilian brings to his perceptions. With a mere phrase or short sentence he gives readers an amazing sensory feel for the realism of personages and their environments.
By his own admission, Kilian does not write ’pious poems,’ thus leaving readers totally free to experience the less than genteel, fully human reactions among his characters. One can imagine the twinkle in his eyes as he composes many of these poems. But caution is in order:  with superb irony, Kilian often ends the episodes with sneaky little
’depth charges’ exploding beneath the surface of entertainment, astonishing and provoking his readers in unanticipated ways." 
A. Regina Schulte

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